Hedges

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The Council of Perfection dictates many things particularly when pruning is mentioned.  However, the Council of Perfection does not work full-time in a demanding job and over commit itself to too many things in the evenings so it will have to except my lackadaisical approach to the hedges.

There are two hedges in the front garden both planted by myself to give privacy.  Between myself and my neighbours there is a beech hedge which really has reached its maximum height and I think needs reducing a little – maybe next year.  It dips at the end because when the hedge was planted some of the plants did not take and had to be replaced the following autumn.

I am a little wary of the hedge trimmer and find it quite awkward to use so my youngest son took charge of the beech hedge.  The sides could be a little tighter and neater as could the top but its a vast improvement on how it was before we started and it will do for another year.

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The laurel hedge goes along the front of the garden and was planted one Christmas Eve before I took over the annual responsibility of the family Christmas dinner.  Now here is where the Council of Perfection would get very cross with me as they dictate that you are meant to use secateurs for broad-leaved hedges such as Laurel.  This is because if you cut the leaves with a strimmer the cut edges will brown and look unsightly.  I have done this ever since the hedge was planted but this year it was too warm and life is too short and to be honest the hedge needed it a more drastic cut so I did the whole hedge with the shears.  I have really cut it back hard which will benefit it in the long-term even if it has a brown tinge for a while.

Again the hedge dips, this time around the birch, this is mainly because the laurel hasn’t grown as strongly by the tree, no doubt because the tree takes up most of the moisture.   I decided to make a feature out of it and I think the dip really shows the white of the birch bark off better.

And yes we didn’t clear up after ourselves very well despite sweeping and raking there are leaves on the road and also along the border in the front of the hedges but the leaves can rot down and there are more things in life to worry about.  So a dull and hot job is done for another year and the pruning have been taken to the dump and we patted ourselves on the back and had a well-earned cuppa.

 

Posted in Front garden, gardening, July, My Garden | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Wordless Wednesday 2/7/14 – Pelargonium Sweet Mimosa

Pelargonium Sweet Mimosa

Pelargonium Sweet Mimosa

Posted in gardening, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

End of Month View – June 1014

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We are going through a bit of a floral lull in the back garden at the end of June.  I have just cut back most of the geraniums which had finished flowering so the Big Border isn’t looking as voluptuous along the grass path as earlier in the month.  The focus of the Big Border is meant to be late summer and I am hoping that in about a month the border will be full of Asters although it will be its first season so it will be interesting to see what happens.  The border to the right of the path is the far side of the old Bog Garden and is in need of an identity. There are phlox and Lobelia tupa about to flower and I think this is an area I might work on next year by which time inspiration may have struck.

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The bottom path runs along the bottom of the Big Border and on the other side is the Cottage Border which is really too narrow and proving troublesome.  The delphiniums are just going over and I think they will be cut back hard next weekend.  Next year I need to be more ruthless and remove the skinny side blooms so the main flowers are even better.  The trouble with this border is its depth.  I had under estimated how big and floppy the Artemis ‘Sauce Hollandise’ was and although I like pushing amongst the flowers it had become impossible so is pushed back now by supports which isn’t showing the plants to their best.  I have a few ideas of where they can be moved to so they can look wonderful next year and I am thinking of replacing them with Astrantia which need a new home. It is clear that the Echinacea planted last year haven’t returned, just as I suspected.  I think slugs are to blame.  Instead I have some pots of Gladiolus which I will put in amongst the cut back delphiniums which should continue the show.

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The succulent trough in the front garden is filling out and despite my dodgy cement repairs I think it is looking quite good and adding some real interest to the border.

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The popular staging area is now playing host to pelargoniums and succulents and looking very jolly.  I could swap the pelargoniums around and move the Red Vogue ones elsewhere and add more scented pelargoniums with pink flowers but I quite like the vibrancy of the red and pink!

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The patio border is very full and about to come into its second season of interest.  Its first season is early Spring with snowdrops and other bulbs.  Now it is mainly foliage with a 2014_06290031yellow and purple theme. The large green bush in the middle is my favourite Kirgenshoma palmata which I adore so it is a real event when it flowers.  There is also a yellow rose in the border, Chinatown, which has a fabulous scent and seems to be disease free.

An added view – from the top of the bottom steps looking towards my son’s workshop.  I really like the gravel steps as they were built in two stages by my father and then my eldest and they just work so well.  It this time of year the sun makes a wonderful effect through the tree and Stipa gigantea to the left.

Finally I will leave you with a view of the new seating area which is adjacent to the workshop.  It is a little busy at the moment as I have trays of

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perennial seedlings hiding away here in the shade.  The tin bath in the foreground is probably going to be used as a small pond which will take the rain water collected by the shed guttering.  We are trying it out at the moment to decide if we think it is a good idea.

So this is my garden at mid-year.  Please feel free to join in with this meme.  You can use it however you like all I ask is that you link to this post from yours and add a link to your post in the comments box so we can all come and have a nose around your space.

 

Posted in Big border, End of month view, Foliage, garden, gardening, June | Tagged , , , , , , | 28 Comments

My Garden This Weekend

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After a slow start this weekend has been wonderful for working in the garden.  I would say pottering but I think my idea of pottering isn’t the same as others.  Saturday was a wash out which is fine as we needed the rain.  I went to the HPS garden club meeting and amazingly I didn’t buy anything possibly because I have been feeling a little jaded recently but also probably because most of the plants were summer flowering perennials which I really don’t have much space for at the moment.  Because my youngest had come home from University on Friday I was keen to spend some time with him so I forgo the afternoon talk which after all was on Heleniums, not a subject I am particularly interested in.

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As my neighbours have gone off on their annual holiday the first job on Sunday was to get the beech hedge between our properties cut; so that was Sunday morning gone.  But in the afternoon I got to play.  The Hardy Exotic Border has been my project this year and I have been adding plants to it over the last few months.  Today I added a Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum), Blechnum spicant and Arisaema consanguineum.  I think the this area is now full in fact, as in many other bits of the garden, I suspect it is overfull and in a year’s time I will be editing it but for now I am happy with the effect.

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The Hardy Exotic Border tapers down into a shady and narrower part of the slope.  This has snowdrops and narcissus in but also bluebells which have turned out to be a mistake as the long leaves smoother the epimediums and emerging ferns and I love these far more than the bluebells.  So I continued along the border digging up the bluebell bulbs which will be planted somewhere else out of the way.  I relocated a hosta and some geraniums and now the border is predominantly epimediums, ferns and arisaema; in this case Arisaema speciosum.  These poor plants have been moved from the old bog garden since firstly I was worrying it was too damp for them and secondly you can’t see the flower spathes unless you lie on the floor.  I am hoping the slope will be more suitable to them and it should make it easier to see the flower spathes next year.

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Having relocated the Arisaema I had space finally to plant the new Cardiocrinum giganteum.  I bought the bulb at the Malvern Spring Show and it has been in a large pot on the patio getting taller and taller.  I don’t know if it will flower and if it does I think it might be monocarpic so that will be that but I have been trying to grow one for years so I am quite excited at the prospect.  The old Bog Garden (top photo) is looking quite good now a real mix of ferny textures with the odd big leaf from the Cardicocrinum and another large-leaved plant whose name escapes me.

A most satisfying day spent pottering in what is quickly becoming my favourite part of the garden.

Posted in bog garden, Foliage, garden, gardening, June, My Garden, My garden this weekend, The Slope (incl Daisy Border), Woodland border | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Taking the Plunge

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I decided finally the other week that I wanted to use the greenhouse more for my alpine and bulbs.  I have lots of pots of bulbs and they are currently stored under the staging in the greenhouse with the aim of them drying out over the summer.  However, I have read that plunging the pots in sand is very beneficial.  It is particularly good for plants that don’t like their roots too wet.

The new staging arrived the other day sooner than I expected which meant a chaotic couple of hours which the staging was assembled and plants moved around.  I hadn’t really thought about such simple things as how you fill the plunges but strangely it turned out to be more involved than I had thought.

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If you just tip the sand into the plunge it really doesn’t work and you don’t get the neat appearance you see in alpine houses.  It turns out you have to fill the plunge with a few inches of sand and then compact it with something like a brick.  Then you carry on doing this layer by layer until the plunge is full. This makes the sand bind together and means that when you cut the holes out for the pots the sand doesn’t collapse.  Having typed this it does sound a little OCD but it does work and it is strangely satisfying!

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I have struggled to find information about setting up a plunge bed; no doubt the audience is a little limited.  However, I came across a wonderful resource on the Alpine Garden Society website – The Wisley Diary.  This was written from 2007 – 2012 by Paul Cumbleton the head of the Alpine section at Wisley.  Of course reading such articles is like signing up to the council of perfection but I suppose it’s a starting point.  Paul advocated laying out your pots in advance so they aren’t crowded and it looks neat.  Anyway, it was quite entertaining a bit like making sand castles but in reverse.

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Of course having filled the plunge with my alpines I realised that part of the plan was to accommodate the pots of bulbs! So these are still in the trays under the staging but the plan is now to move them into the plunge as they are coming into flower.

I have no idea if I am doing things right but it seems to me that the only way to learn is to have a go and see what happens.  Seeing the plunge full of alpines makes me smile and I have a suspicion that this is the beginning of a slippery slope.  The only obstacle is space for more frames, although there is a plan fermenting in my mind.

Posted in Alpines, garden, gardening, Greenhouse, June, Months, My Garden, Plants | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Wordless Wednesday 25/6/14 – Roses

Rosa 'Lady Emma Hamilton'

Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’

Rose 'Jude the Obscure'

Rose ‘Jude the Obscure’

Rosa 'Chinatown'

Rosa ‘Chinatown’

Rosa Handel

Rosa Handel

Rosa 'Eyes for You'

Rosa ‘Eyes for You’

Posted in garden, June, Photography, Roses, Wordless Wednesday | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

My Garden This Weekend – 22nd June 2014

Cautleya spicata

Cautleya spicata

I’m not really a summer person nor for that matter a winter person.  I am much happier in spring and autumn as I prefer the weather and the way nature changes so dramatically during these seasons. I have found in recent years that around this time of year I start to lose interest in the garden and it becomes more of a chore than an enjoyment. Strange I know given all the work I put in to make the garden look lovely.  In the past this has bothered me but this year I am accepting my eccentricities and enjoying more of my other interests.

Dryopteris erythrosora (Autumn Fern)

Dryopteris erythrosora (Autumn Fern)

Instead of spending the day gardening I am spending an hour or so in the evenings or earlier during the day and then retreating indoors or sitting reading in the garden and I have to say that I am realising that this is far so enjoyable than my usual manic approach to things.  Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

This weekend has been wonderful and refreshing.  I had no plans to be any where or to do anything.  I spent some time on Saturday cutting back early summer perennials such as Aquilegia and planting out, somewhat belatedly, a few annuals.  I have little space for annuals now and I don’t think I will even bother sowing them next year as it has become quite a challenge finding homes for them.

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I am fascinated with how the geraniums have grown taller up amongst the other perennials rather than low and floppy.  I am sure that someone who knows more than I do about geraniums will say that it depends on the cultivar you are growing however I am sure that some of these geraniums weren’t as tall last year.

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I think this is what you might call ‘cheek by jowl’ gardening and I doubt it is sustainable going forward especially when you think I only planted the border up last year and this spring.  I am determined not to diminish the impact of the border by over jealous tidying and thinning, my usual approach, so will need to practice a more measured approach.

Anthemis tinctoria 'Sauce Hollandise'

Anthemis tinctoria ‘Sauce Hollandise’

2014_06220012Today I potted up some of the perennial seedlings.  I have decided not to propagate so much in future.  I have found that as with so much in my life at the moment I over commit and under-estimate my time and so I have pots of seedlings needing sorting out and if I don’t get on with them the seedlings go leggy and die making the whole process pointless.  So the plan is now to concentrate on what I have and be more selective in the future – hopefully I will stick to this resolution.

Then another hour was spent sorting out plants to enter into the AGS show in a couple of weeks time.  I find sitting and carefully picking over a plant, removing old or damaged leaves and flowers very relaxing.  I am hoping to enter six classes in the Novice section and I have thirteen plants potted up and ready to choose from.  Ideally you want plants that are in flower, unless of course it is a foliage category, and I so I am hoping with a range to choose from I will get lucky.

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Aside from gardening I have had a happy time finishing off a sewing project, reading and knitting and enjoying the view from the patio.

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Posted in Big border, Cottage Garden Border, garden, gardening, June, My Garden, My garden this weekend | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments